Have Diabetes, Will Travel!

travelSummer travel season is almost here! Wherever you go, your diabetes comes with you.  And with sharps, strange liquids and funky devices in tow, traveling with diabetes has its challenges.

But if you know your rights and plan ahead, you’re almost guaranteed to have a safe journey.  Here are some of our best tips for preventing and resolving common travel issues.

Tip 1: When traveling, always carry or wear a medical ID and carry contact information for your physician. You can download and print a free diabetes medical alert card here.

Tip 2: Ask your doctor for a letter stating your diabetes diagnosis and your need to carry insulin, syringes, test strips and other supplies.

Tip 3: Pack at least twice as much medication and testing supplies as you think you need, and keep it in your carry-on.

Tip 4: Don’t expose insulin to extreme heat (such as a glove compartment) or cold (such as an airplane cargo hold).

Tip 5: If you plan to be more active than usual, your blood glucose could go too low. Take along snacks or fast-acting glucose.

Tip 6: Separate your diabetes supplies from your other carry-on baggage so it can be screened more easily.

Tip 7: Visit www.diabetes.org/airportsecurity before you fly!

Air travel is of particular concern. The American Diabetes Association works with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on airport security screening procedures and to ensure passengers with diabetes have access to their supplies and equipment. TSA has many resourcesThis image is associated with an external link. to assist passengers who require special assistance or who experience problems during airport screenings.

Experience an air travel problem? Report it! This helps TSA and other agencies improve their processes and systems. Call 1-800-DIABETES or visit www.diabetes.org/airportsecurity.

For more great tips, head on over to our website or check out the highlights from our recent Twitter chat on this very subject.

What’s YOUR tried-and-true travel tip? Share in the comments section below!


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This entry was posted in Advocacy, Life with Diabetes, Stop Diabetes, Tips and ideas, Travel and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Have Diabetes, Will Travel!

  1. sikha sengupta says:

    I am diabetic since 20 years ..ttTaking insuline last 14 years.I am now 60 years.I am house maker.got two beautiful son,daughter -in law with a baby girl 4 years & my sweet husband..I did my m.s.w from I.I.,SWBM<from Calcutta univercity.Due to diabetic barier i think iam disable .So many ailments i am carring .one son inDubai another one in mumbai..so many wish was their to do so many thing.i was a good painter also .Today nothing doing..Always negetivity mind i am carrying canot enjoy my life.

    • Joe says:


      Diabetes is a disability, but the minute you let it overtake your life, you start living your life for your diabetes, instead of for yourself. I am also a diabetic; I was diagnosed as an infant (1 1/2 years old), and have had diabetes for 26 years now. While we do live in the struggle of the diabetic entanglement, I find it very important to set a mentality that I will not let this disease own me. My motto is “Just because I’m a diabetic, doesn’t mean I can’t do what you can.”. While it takes a lot of additional planning, I have found that just about nothing is impossible. I’ve been scuba diving, I fly every week for work, travel across time zones, work consultant hours (into the late night and early morning), play instruments (not so much anymore, but I used to play the bass and trombone), swim, go to the gym, and so much more.

      In August, I will be taking my first international trip, heading to Ireland. Traveling across time zones has always been my fear. When I was 13 years old, I traveled out to California (I live on the East Coast) for a trip with my family. When I came back to the East Coast, my blood sugar dropped overnight, and I ended up in the hospital. Had my parents not recognized the symptoms, I’m sure I wouldn’t have made it through the night. It has been very difficult to overcome this obstacle, but I did it, having traveled to Hawaii just a couple years ago. While I’m trying not to let my nerves get the best of me, I am still terrified of going to Ireland. What if my sugar drops? What if I go too low and end up in the hospital again, or worse?

      But I refuse to let this stop me, because I know that the world is a big place, and I’m meant to see it. I am traveling with a friend, and have been telling him EVERYTHING he needs to know about my diabetes: what to watch for, what the cautionary signs are, how to react, so that I’m not taking the trip alone.

      I’m not sure why you no longer paint, but I find that a good hobby helps me to distract myself from the annoyance of this disease. Maybe paint out your frustrations with diabetes and use that as an outlet; something that you can leave behind.

      In addition to myself, my father, older sister, and younger brother have diabetes, too. This support system keeps me going. I’m not sure if you are the only one dealing with this disease, but even if you are, I suggest you create that support system with your family and friends. Get them involved so you can take the burden off of your shoulders and live a freer life. While a moment never goes by when I’m not thinking of my diabetes (I test 20+ times per day, too), nevertheless I can still live my life to the fullest.

      I pray that you find peace with this disease, and that you can overcome the challenges you are facing. 60 is the new 40; you’ve still got plenty of time left to enjoy this world, and so many opportunities to show this disease that YOU are in charge; not the other way around.


  2. Thanks for this post regarding traveling with diabetes. This is an important aspect of this complex condition and there is so much to learn about diabetes a crucial aspect of management. I really appreciate information that is useful on a daily basis.


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